The last interview I did for the book was in November last year. Right now, I cannot remember if it was with a parent or the pastor of a special congregation. It is likely the former.
Today, I met up with Seng Wei, a father whose son is in a mainstream school but requires much learning support. This is the first interview I’m doing after a 10-month hiatus and I’m really thankful for the affable nature of this parent. He is candid about the situation and during our conversation, shared openly his views and opinions.
As I packed up my things after our conversation was done, a familiar sense of poignancy filled me.
Fiddling and twiddling with that feeling, I realise this is what happens each time I finish an interview with a parent whose child has special needs. I get drawn into the experience and I feel too much. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–it’s why I’m passionate about helping families–but I need to learn emotional boundaries so that I can maintain my own mental health. This is important for me, especially when a lot of what is being related to me are heart-breaking accounts of something that had happened.
I enjoy my conversations with parents, don’t get me wrong. And I’m glad that parents are willing to open up and share their lives with me for the benefit of the book.
With a number more parent interviews to go, I will seek to strike that balance between lacking in empathy and too much empathy. Ground sentiment, instead of being dispiriting, can then be turned into positive energy that will propel me onward and towards the completion of this book.